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Insurance giant State Farm announced a reorganization Friday that it said will consolidate many of its administrative and support operations.

The company said it will combine its 25 administrative regions in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  and Canada into 13 zones, consolidate 10 long-term health-care insurance programs into two offices and move many agent and customer support operations to a single location.

Spokesman Steve Vogel said the changes will result in no layoffs, though about 200 employees will be given the option to relocate when their jobs move to new cities as the reorganization is implemented over the next few years or could be offered other positions.

He said a few hundred more employees may be asked to change jobs at their current locations.

Steel imports hurt U.S. firms

Certain steel imports from Argentina and South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa.  are hurting U.S. steel The United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) is an integrated steel producer with major production operations in the United States and Central Europe. The company is the world's seventh-largest steel producer ranked by sales (see list of steel producers).  companies, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Friday in a unanimous decision A Unanimous Decision is a winning criterion in several full-contact combat sports, such as boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, mixed martial arts and others sports involving striking in which all 3 judges agree on which fighter won the match. .

The ruling means tariffs the Commerce Department set last month on hot-rolled steel will be imposed immediately, department spokesman Kurt Cultice said.

The tariff on steel from Argentina is 86.2 percent; from South Africa, 9.3 percent.

Hot-rolled steel ends up in just about every steel product, from welded pipe tubes to automobile body frames.

Nine American companies and two unions filed a lawsuit with the trade commission last fall alleging 11 countries were selling hot-rolled steel at below-market prices in violation of trade laws, a practice known as dumping.

Northrop extends bid for Newport

Northrop Grumman Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is an aerospace and defense conglomerate that is the result of the 1994 purchase of Grumman by Northrop. The company is the third largest defense contractor for the U.S.  Corp. has extended its hostile bid for Newport News Newport News, independent city (1990 pop. 170,045), SE Va., on the Virginia peninsula, at the mouth of the James River, off Hampton Roads, near Norfolk; inc. 1896.  Shipbuilding Inc. for a fifth time.

The deadline was moved from Aug. 16 to Aug. 30.

Los Angeles-based Northrop first made the surprise bid in May, saying it would match the $67.50-per-share offer being tendered by defense contractor Noun 1. defense contractor - a contractor concerned with the development and manufacture of systems of defense
armed forces, armed services, military, military machine, war machine - the military forces of a nation; "their military is the largest in the region";
 General Dynamics General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD) is a defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2006 it is the sixth largest defense contractor in the world[1]. The company has changed markedly in the post-Cold War era of defense consolidation.  of Falls Church Falls Church, independent city (1990 pop. 9,578), NE Va., a residential suburb of Washington, D.C.; inc. as a town 1875, as a city 1948. There is diverse light manufacturing, including telecommunications equipment. , Va.

The Newport News, Va.-based shipbuilder designs and constructs nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for the Navy and services ships in the Navy fleet.

Northrop Grumman is General Dynamics' primary competitor for Navy shipbuilding contracts.

The Newport News board of directors in June voted to support the offer by General Dynamics but took no position on Northrop. Analysts have equated the board's silence with a rejection.

US Airways faces possibility of strike

Days after telling employees that it needs concessions to compete, US Airways finds itself in a 30-day countdown to a possible flight attendants' strike at one of its regional carriers.

The 250 flight attendants at Piedmont Airlines, which operates as US Airways Express US Airways Express is an airline brand name, rather than a fully certificated airline, and as such, the US Airways Express name is used by several individually owned airlines or airline holding companies which provide regional airline and commuter service for US Airways. , would be free to strike at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 16. Union leaders say that without an agreement, they would likely stage random, unannounced strikes on various routes.

Piedmont flies 68 routes for US Airways.

The Salisbury, Md.-based carrier operates a fleet of Dash 8 turboprops, seating 37 passengers, and is one of four regional carriers owned by US Airways and operated as US Airways Express. In addition, five independent carriers operate as US Airways Express.

The countdown in the mediated talks comes after more than two years of negotiations, which have produced tentative agreements in about half the contract areas, but none on the key issue: wages.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 18, 2001

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